Trinity College is blessed with incredible professors who mentor and grow students across all disciplines. Get to know Dr. Chrystal Ho Pao, our Biology professor who has taught at Trinity since 1998 and studied at UC Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT.
Dr. Chrystal Ho Pao, Professor of Biology
Q. What makes you passionate about your field?
A. From early on, I loved science. It fascinated me that there were logical ways to understand the intricate designs. After I became a believer, I realized it was because a very wise God was behind it all. Now when I study mechanisms and structures of the human body, or plant and animal cells, I actually feel like I’m worshiping him. I think it is mesmerizing—I don’t know why other people are not interested!
Q. What is a misconception about your field you would like to correct?
A. People worry that it is difficult to understand. But I want to say that actually—if explained in the right way—many biological mechanisms can be understood very clearly. Many students who take non-major Biology classes with an open attitude toward the subject end up learning beautifully.
I understand the apprehension. But I think fear is one of Satan’s strategies to incapacitate your passion and understanding for something.
Q. What was your college experience?
A. For my undergraduate studies, I majored in genetics at UC Berkeley. I did my PhD in molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School, working alongside many medical doctors and science researchers. Then I did my postdoctoral research nearby at MIT.
“To be in a place where I can freely profess my faith and link the beauty in biological designs with the worship of the true God behind them is a huge blessing.”
Q. Why did you choose to teach at Trinity?
A. I thought Trinity would be a place where I could integrate my faith and teaching and also have a key role in influencing the next generation of Christian scientists, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, and athletic trainers.
To be in a place where I can freely profess my faith and link the beauty in biological designs with the worship of the true God behind them is a huge blessing.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. I like teaching in the lab and enjoy the human interaction it offers. I get to know the students very well; science faculty work very closely with them in those small class settings. I feel that we are not mentoring them only about academics, but also about other things like how to present in a way that is respectful and thoughtful—whether in the classroom or in the future workplace.
Our students perform very well when they get to the interview stage. Employers tell us later that they love our students because they are team players. They are respectful, they are responsible, and they work well. At Trinity, I feel we attract students who want to work intimately with other people. With our small classes and labs, teachers can mentor them very well.
Q. What can you be found doing when you’re not on the job?
A. I like working with young people, so one of my favorite activities is working as a youth mentor at my church’s youth group. That gives me opportunities to do things that they like to do; I like ice skating, skiing, rollerblading, table tennis, things like that. When I was in high school I was a basketball player and a gymnast. I have always loved moving around when I don’t have to use my brain!
Q. What is your family like? Do you have any Trinity connections?
A. My biggest Trinity affiliation is my husband, on the TEDS side! He found a job here first, but interestingly we came to teach at the same time. I have two twin daughters, who are college age now. Over the years we have had quite a few different pets: hamsters, guinea pigs, bunnies, and a cat. But right now, our constant pet is Bean the hamster.